Some clichés seem to be so rooted in the world of football that not only do they ring true, but they just won't go away. They come around the same time every year, again and again, like clockwork. Every season it’s drilled into us that, by this point in calendar you can ‘throw away the form book” because it’s all about who’s got “more to play for”. Those teams below you that you were counting as wins? Now that relegation has sharpened their minds they’ve got “more to play for”. The teams at the top are fighting for European places, so they've got “more to play for” (plus they’re still better than you).
So who do you want to be playing right now? Easy, you want the team that’s already “on holiday”. Mid table teams with nothing to win, but safe from relegation. With nothing to aim for they lose focus and, tired from a long season, they’re accused of taking a mental break and trying less hard.
With a recent history including the playoffs, a Championship title race, a relegation battle and a Premier League title race, it’s been a long time since any of this has meant much for Leicester City. It hasn't seemed to be the case this year either, with the team showing great form down the stretch.
Except, after last weekend, we’re now mathematically safe from relegation. Don’t look now, but we’re also eliminated from every cup competition and can't move any more than one place up the table from here. As far as prizes to be won, Leicester have absolutely nothing left to play for this year.
So, have the players mentally hit the beaches since we last saw them? Well there’s no way for us to know until we see them play again, but it’s certainly possible. Until then, the real worry is that some of them have already physically hit the beaches.
BREAKING: Leicester City and England midfielder Danny Drinkwater has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a thigh problem.— BBC Leicester Sport (@BBCRLSport) May 11, 2017
It makes complete sense, of course. These guys have been fighting through niggling injuries all year; Drinkwater turned down an England cap earlier in the year to try to extend his club season. With nothing left for the team to play for, why should they risk the physical wellbeing of some of their key players? Since there’s nothing to lose, they might as well go away and come back fit next year. Plus we get a few games now to give the deeper squad players a chance to show what they have before decisions are made about who to keep.
Not that any of this helps the fans sitting through the performances that follow. But that also doesn't mean that there’s no hope at all for our viewing experiences the rest of the way.
While it’s true the Foxes have little to gain in the league, they aren't entirely without motivation.
Shakey has been brilliant for us. He's respected by everybody at the club - Marc Albrighton
He's the man to take us forward - Riyad Mahrez
He has been there for years, all the lads love him, and he has been top class since he took over - Danny Simpson
I think he would be most of the lads' choice - Jamie Vardy
Obviously no players are going to speak out against the current manager at the moment, but it seems pretty clear that the whole squad looks more confident under Shakespeare and I’m sure most would love him to stay. As nailed on as that feels right now, it really isn’t. The best way for them to get the man they want to stay is simply to keep winning. Show that he can keep them motivated and playing hard through the finish line and I can't see how anyone else gets the job, but if they take a holiday and drop back down 14th, you never know. As much as I love the owners, they’ve shown a liking for big name managers in the past.
It’s certainly not all doom and gloom, but we’ll have to wait until the team takes the field against Manchester City on Saturday until we know for sure. And maybe not even then. What do you think: will the players take an early holiday and, if so, have they earned it?